Royal Commission report day 27 page 17

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The Royal Commission evidence for 8/6/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 27)

Mr Jesse Dowsett giving evidence

10917 What weapon had you?— Colt's breech loading revolver.

10918 One of the police weapons or a railway weapon?— Railway, one that the Government provided me with.

10919 Did Constable Kelly come?— Yes, he came and fired twice I believe, and I fancy that he hit the outlaw's hand. He then left the clump of saplings and seemed to be coming still nearer to where we were, and I went from the tree I was at to a big log that lay on the ground, that stood about three feet high, and got behind this. After this he seemed to be coming right straight for me, and he walked into the fork of the log as it were, and as he did, I could see Steele on the left, coming down towards him, and I could see Senior Constable Kelly on the right, coming towards him; so then I said to him, “You had better surrender, old man, you are surrounded”; and he said, “Never, while I have a shot left”; and I could see the top of his head just above the log, and I fired at it, but it just went off like a parched pea, and took no effect; and I said, “How do you like that?” And he rose up and said, “How do you like that?” And as he did, I saw Steele make towards him, and fire as he travelled on, and immediately after firing the figure seemed to go down all of a heap. I jumped over the log and Steele was on him.

10920 Did you think you were going to be shot?— Yes, I thought he had got me then; but when I saw him drop and fall all of a heap, I jumped up and ran towards him, but Steele was the other side of the log, and he was wrestling with him. I got hold of his wrist and caught hold of the revolver, and it went off, and I kept it.

10921 Right or left wrist?— In his right wrist. It seemed, when he was firing the last time, he seemed to hold it down as if he could not hold it straight out. It seemed to hang down.

10922 Was it the wounded hand?— I could not say. I think the bullet was in the left arm as he laid in the station.

10923 What portion of his body had Steele his hands on?— On his shoulder.

10924 About the throat?— Close to the throat or shoulder. They were actually on the ground Constable Kelly was up almost at the same moment, in fact, it was almost a dead heat.

10925 Are you quite sure you did not pick the revolver off the ground?— Yes, I am sure I took it from his hand.

10926 And have it since?— Yes—[producing the same]. It was loaded in three chambers at the time, and the blood all round it. On the hilt there is “N.S.W.G.,” meaning. “ New South Wales Government.” I believe Kelly said afterwards that it was one that he took at Jerilderie.

10927 Had it any blood on it?— Yes; it was covered with blood, and I kept it like that for a considerable time.

10928 Do you know if he had any other revolver on him?— Yes, I believe one was picked up the following day. I don't know only from hearsay.

10929 If Mr. Marsden got another one the same day, you would not know whether he did or not?— No.

10930 You are quite positive you wrenched it from Kelly's right hand?— Yes, that is the one he was firing with at the moment of his capture.

10931 You say there were three charges in it when you got it?— Yes, they were fired off at Queenscliff, where I also cleaned the revolver. That is the tin that was in Kelly's pouch—[handing in a mustard tin]. That was stuffed full of cartridges, the same as if they got their ammunition in mustard tins. When they got out at the station, they said, “Here is one of your bullets, Dowsett,” and there is the mark in the mustard tin. When they were emptying it out on the station they said that, and that was how I got it. Of course it was choke full then, but that one happened to stop the way.

10932 Did his helmet come off?— No, Constable Kelly took it off.

10933 Are you quite sure of that?— Positive of it.

10934 It did not fall off where he fell?— No, Kelly took it off for the purpose of identifying him, and the moment it was off Steele fastened his hand on his beard and said, “You wretch, I swore I would be in at your death, and I am,” and put his hand back as if he was going to shoot him. I said, “Take the man alive—take him alive.”

10935 Was Constable Bracken there?— I cannot say, because I did not know him personally.

10936 Was there a constable over his body saying, “You shall not shoot him”?— Almost immediately there was, and said, “You shall not shoot the man.” In fact, I think it was the same person that spoke to Dwyer when Dwyer kicked him.....

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